Canned Fruit Cocktail Crumble might sound a bit bonkers but actually it’s a super simple and fairly cheap way of putting together a delicious hot dessert. With a soft and crispy crumble topping baked over tinned fruit salad straight from the can, this twist on classic British crumble is far more than the sum of it’s parts.
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Ok don’t come at me, I know this is an odd recipe. Who even buys fruit cocktail in a can? Well I’d put money on many people having a rogue tin somewhere at the back of the cupboard. And as every brand and supermarket sells a version, this retro 70’s classic must be pretty popular.
I try not to overly egg personal origin stories of recipes but this one is so ingrained in my memory, please allow me this moment of therapy to share.
I used to live and work on a boat – a residential sailing school moored in the middle of an estuary. It was fully catered which is much less fun than it sounds when you love cooking and are a picky eater.
But every Sunday was roast dinner day and that was always fairly edible. And there was always a crumble for dessert. 90% of the time it was this very recipe.
Cash and carry size tins of fruit cocktail covered in homemade crumble topping and served with lashing of custard. I couldn’t stand it! This is the time in my life where I gained the invaluable skill of siphoning crumble topping off the fruit and just adding some of the juices. Plus custard.
15 odd years has since passed and whilst I no longer eat many of the minced beef based staples of those summers, I have finally learnt to eat (some) fruit. As long as its cooked anyway. So I decided to revisit this fruit cocktail version. And you know what? I rather liked it!
Oh and in case you’re wondering. No I can’t sail. Don’t ask.
How to Serve Fruit Salad Crumble
Hot. I like to serve it hot. It is entirely possible to eat cold crumble but I’m really not a fan. You do you but I will continue to recommend eating it hot. Warm is fine too.
Pop it in the oven as your sit down to the main course and by the time you’re ready for dessert, it’ll be baked and perfect to serve.
As for what to serve it with, at this point the traditional question is custard, cream or ice cream? It is of course personal preference. A really yellow Bird’s custard has always been my first choice. The kind where you add sugar and milk, not the instant kind.
But more recently I’ve been coming round to the idea of serving with double/heavy cream. There is something about the cold cream and hot crumble that is rather wonderful. You could serve with creme fraiche or yoghurt too.
If you’re an ice cream kind of person then absolutely go for it. But I would advise you to think about the flavour ice cream you’re choosing. Of course vanilla would be the classic. Other light fruit flavours might work but I would avoid chocolate or anything overly strongly flavoured like salted caramel or chocolate.
More Fruit Crumble Recipes
What Fruits are in Fruit Cocktail?
It kind of varies depending on what brand you buy. As of April 2022, here are some of the variations available in the UK:
- Del Monte – peach, pear, pineapple, grape and cherry in pineapple juice.
- Tesco (Fruit Medley) – peach, pear, apricot and pineapple in grape juice.
- Morrisons – peach, pear, pineapple, grape and cherry in pear juice.
- Sainsburys – peach, pear, pineapple, grape and cherry in sugar syrup.
- Princes, Aldi, Lidl & Epicure – peach, pear, pineapple, grape, cherry in grape juice.
Make of that last entry what you will! Asda don’t appear to have an own brand version.
I also checked various US stores and both Del Monte and the various own brands that I could find were all also similar.
The only Australian version that I could find excluded the cherries but was otherwise broadly the same.
Talking of cherries, if you are a big cherry fan, you may be disappointed. They are included but barely. There were 3 half cherries in the can that I used from Aldi. And that’s being generous. So if you want more cherry, you might want to consider adding in some extra!
Canned or Tinned?
You may or may not have noticed that I have variously use the terms “canned” and “tinned” throughout this recipe.
Tinned is the more traditional British term despite the fact that tins haven’t been made out of tin for a very long time. Canned is a more North American term but is widely understood in the UK. Which is why I’ve used canned in the recipe title.
Ingredients for Tinned Fruit Cocktail Crumble
Whatever you call it, canned fruit cocktail is a mix of fruits cut into bitesize pieces and preserved for long term storage in a sugar syrup. Some brands have a “in natural juice” option which doesn’t have the added sugar.
I would recommend using the syrup version for this recipe. As there is no additional sugar or other ingredients added to the fruit, that extra sweetness is welcome. If you only have the in juice kind, thats fine too.
I know that there are some places that sell this kind of fruit cocktail mix in other ways that aren’t in metal cans. I’ve seen them in long life plastic jars and vac sealed plastic pots. Any of these versions will work just the same, it is simply a matter of packaging choice.
The recipe uses self-raising flour (self rising) which just gives it a little lift. The crumble doesn’t bake up like a cake but it does make a slight difference with the texture.
If you prefer to use plain flour and add baking powder you can do this. Charlotte over at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen has a great helpful guide for How to Make Self-Raising Flour.
You can actually just use plain flour if you don’t have any baking powder. It will still be good, just not amazing.
I use salted butter in all my baking. And I use salt in all my baking. Use unsalted butter if you must but please add extra salt. Salt enhances flavour and without it, the topping will be bland.
It is also best to use actual butter rather than margarine. This both helps the texture and the flavour of the finished crumble.
It is also important that the butter is fridge cold when you start making the crumble.
It doesn’t matter if you use granulated or caster sugar (regular or superfine). But please make sure to use white sugar not brown. An unbleached white sugar is fine.
Vegetarian Fruit Cocktail Crumble
This recipe is suitable for vegetarians. There is no reason that canned fruit cocktail would include any kind of gelatine but it may be best to check for peace of mind.
Vegan Fruit Cocktail Crumble
Assuming that you have check the fruit cocktail for rogue gelatine, the only ingredient that needs to be substituted in this recipe is the butter.
You can use a hard plant-based substitute. Try to look for a “buttery” kind so you don’t entirely lose the flavour that the butter adds to the crumble.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from egg and nuts.
Gluten Free Fruit Crumble: It should be fairly easy to sub in a white gluten free flour blend on a 1:1 basis. Just remember that if you are using a blend without raising agents, you will need to add gluten free baking powder.
Dairy Free Fruit Crumble: The butter is the only dairy in the recipe so simply swap it for a dairy free alternative.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Simple Fruit Cocktail Crumble Tips
This recipe serves 4 with one not huge portion each. The crumble topping is pretty substantial. If you want to have a bigger fruit to crumble ratio, you could use an extra can of cocktail.
I specify in the recipe to heap the crumble topping higher in the centre of the baking dish. This gives you a really good mix of gooey underneath, crispy edges and crunchy topping. If you want to spread it more evenly, they go for it.
It is easy to switch in or add any other fruits you like. Especially if they are canned. Don’t feel restrained.
It is also easy to make individual crumbles. Use ramekins and split fruit and crumble evenly between them. Bear in mind that smaller crumbles will likely cook more quickly than one big one.
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Easy Canned Fruit Cocktail Crumble
- 100 g Self Raising Flour (Self-Rising)
- 50 g Salted Butter - cold
- 50 g Sugar
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 400 g Canned Fruit Cocktail
- 1 tbsp Demerara Sugar (Turbinado Sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 180c fan | 200c | 390f.
- Measure 100g Self Raising Flour and 50g Salted Butter into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces as you add it.
- Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips. It is ready when the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Measure in 500g Sugar and ¼ tsp Sea Salt Flakes then stir into the flour butter mix until evenly distributed.
- Set aside the crumble mix for the time being.
- Open the 400g Canned Fruit Cocktail and pour into a small baking dish.
- Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit.
- Heap the crumble up more in the middle of the dish and keep it thinner at the edges.
- Lightly sprinkle 1 tbsp Demerara Sugar over the top of the crumble for extra crunch.
- Bake for 40 minutes then serve warm.